Monday’s Music Moves Me: No Singing, Just Whistling

Another “freebie” day here at m4.

What got me on this particular topic was the song “Winchester Cathedral” by The New Vaudeville Band, which was the basis for Mary B’s latest Battle of the Bands. (And, if you haven’t voted in my Battle of the Bands for this week, what’s holding you up? You have until tomorrow morning to cast your ballot, and the other folks holding battles would appreciate a vote, too.)

Anyway, thinking the song started with whistling (it doesn’t, by the way) got me thinking about other songs that had whistling in them. And yes, I came up with Billy Joel’s “The Stranger,” Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay,” and Danny O’Keefe’s “Goodtime Charley’s Got The Blues,” but then I started remembering songs that had whistling and no singing in them, even though the song itself might have lyrics and there are vocal versions available. And, before I knew what was happening, I had six of them. They’re all short, mostly under three minutes, because, as everyone knows, that’s the longest anyone can whistle before their mouth gets tired. Anyhow, here is my list of songs that have no singing in them, just whistling.

The Dick Haymes Trio, “Moritat (Mack The Knife)” This is the Kurt Weill classic from The Threepenny Opera. If you grew up in Chicago in the Sixties and Seventies, and your parents listened to WFMF (later WLOO), you’ll remember this as the song they played at the top of the hour.

Don Robertson, “The Happy Whistler” From 1956, like me, I found this one as I was playing the last one, and liked it so much I had to include it. Don Robertson was a songwriter and pianist who wrote a number of songs for Elvis Presley, including “Anything That’s Part of You” and “I’m Counting on You,” and wrote “Ringo” for Lorne Greene.

“Colonel Bogey March,” from Bridge on the River Kwai “Colonel Bogey March” was composed in 1914 by Lieutenant (pronounced “lef-ten-ant”) F. J. Ricketts. It’s the regimental quick march for The King’s Own Calgary Regiment, and was heard frequently in Old Blighty during World War II. This scene from the movie gives me chills.

Whistling Jack Smith, “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” This was considered a novelty song when it came out in 1967. It was written by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, who originally named it “Too Much Birdseed.” This is the most popular version, by Whistling Jack Smith, who might have been Noel Walker (the record’s producer) or trumpeter John O’Neill. It peaked at #20 on the Hot 100.

Jean-Baptiste “Toots” Thielemans with the Boston Pops, “Bluesette” Toots was another victim of 2016. He was a guitarist, harmonicist, and whistler of some merit (it’s why he’s called “Toots”). You might remember his harmonica from Billy Joel’s “Leave The Tender Moment Alone.” “Bluesette” was one of his original compositions. John Williams conducts the Boston Pops Orchestra here, if you don’t recognize him.

Earle Hagen, “The Fishin’ Hole (The Andy Griffith Show theme)” Added this because, if I hadn’t, you’d be all over me. Versions of this with Andy Griffith singing the lyrics are out there, but this is the best-known version.

Can you think of any other songs that are whistled and not sung? There are a lot of songs with whistling and singing, I know, but I’m looking specifically for songs that are just whistled.

That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for March 6, 2017.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


25 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: No Singing, Just Whistling

  1. Thought of another one. This was very popular when I was quite young. “Heartaches” – Ted Seems orchestra. Great whistling. Okay, I’ll shut it down with the whistling.


  2. Woke up this morning and I thought of a whistling song. “High and Mighty” – looked up the artist and it was LeRoy Holmes. The year was 1954 and it was the theme from the John Wayne movie. I’m going to have a hell of a day!!!


      1. I was so happy that I thought of it I neglected to see if anyone else thought of it. Sorry about that.


  3. I always wished I could whistle but I suck at it:) Bridge is a great song and that video of Jack Smith made me laugh. He is dressed in the cool style of the day and is all on his own whistling away. There is a great Ennio Morricone song from Once Upon A Time In The West which is great.


    1. I think Western movies are the best bet for finding songs that have just whistling in them. There are quite a few that have whistling in addition to singing, but very few that have just whistling.


  4. You’re driving me nuts with this one. I come up with nothing. As you know, there were seven of us Connelly kids and we were raised with a beach and Lake Michigan as our backyard. Dad was a good whistler and when he wanted us to come home he would whistle a five note distinctive signal and we would come-a-runnin’.


  5. Except for Andy Griffith show, I came up blank. The first song that came to mind (but doesn’t fit you’re guideline for an all-whistling song) was Wind of Change by Scorpions…..although the whistling is featured prominently.


    1. There are lots of songs that have whistling in them, and originally that was what I was going to write about, then I had this idea. Made things a whole lot harder, didn’t it?


  6. I like to listen to a good whistler. Whistling is something I never could do, though. These songs were very entertaining! We do watch the old b & w Andy Griffith shows every morning. 🙂


  7. I remember “The Happy Whistler” from my days as a young kid in Missoula, MT. Things were a little simpler in a small town in the early 1960s, and tunes like this reflect it.

    The first rock and roll song I remember is also from those young days – Chuck Berry’s “No Particular Place To Go.”


  8. Wow, I never thought about this one and you found so many. Hmmm whistling songs let me think… hmmmm how about does Whistle while you work from Snow White work? hehehehehe! Have a rockin’ week my friend. I’m off to physical therapy today! hugs


  9. Not that long ago, I got sucked into watching the “Bridge on the River Kwai” so that one was fresh in my mind. Andy Griffith seems to always be showing on some station. Good choices.


  10. John, Whistling is just a feel good expression and this is a wonderful freebie theme choice for today’s mewsic. Whistling Jack Smith, “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman” is especially cheerful and of course, The Andy Griffth theme mewsic always makes me smile. I loved that show and now whenever I see clips from the show I think of our trip in 2015 to Mt. Airy for Mayberry Days. That was a lot of fun to do! We missed doing that last fall. I wished we had now because I don’t know if we’ll get a chance this year yet. Oh well…I had great fun listening to your songs. Have a fabulous day!


  11. Back when I was still in high school and juggling with my parents, we worked a county fair show with this blind guy who was a professional whistler. I thought it was kind of strange. We used to have a copy of his record album sitting around the house–it was an album of sacred songs whistled with instrumental accompaniment. I’m sure I probably listened to it at some time back then, but musically it just wasn’t something that I liked. In fact, I find whistling to be somewhat compelling and yet a tad annoying in an ear worm sort of way. I frequently find myself whistling the theme from River Kwai and I drive myself nuts.

    Actually out of curiosity I googled “blind whistler” and found the guy at

    and the album we had at

    Now I almost wish I still had that album.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


    1. The song I found was “The High And The Mighty,” music by Dmitri Tiomkin, who also wrote the music for “Town Without Pity.” Talk about your coincidences…


Comments are closed.